Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician and journalist, the leader of the National Fascist Party. He ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943. Known as Il Duce, Mussolini was the founder of Italian Fascism. In 1912, Mussolini had been a leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party, but was expelled from the PSI for advocating military intervention in World War I, in opposition to the party's stance on neutrality. Mussolini served in the Royal Italian Army during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering on nationalism instead of socialism and founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism and class conflict, instead advocating "revolutionary nationalism" transcending class lines. Following the March on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship.
Within five years, Mussolini had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means and aspired to create a totalitarian state. In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the Vatican, ending decades of struggle between the Italian state and the Papacy, recognized the independence of Vatican City. After the Abyssinia Crisis of 1935–1936, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in the Second Italo–Ethiopian War; the invasion was condemned by the Western powers and was answered with economic sanctions against Italy. Relations between Germany and Italy improved due to Hitler's support of the invasion. In 1936, Mussolini surrendered Austria to the German sphere of influence, signed the treaty of cooperation with Germany and proclaimed the creation of a Rome–Berlin Axis. From 1936 through 1939, Mussolini provided huge amounts of military support to Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War; this active intervention further distanced Italy from Britain. Mussolini had sought to delay a major war in Europe, but Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, resulting in declarations of war by France and the UK and the start of World War II.
On 10 June 1940—with the Fall of France imminent—Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, though Mussolini was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity and resources to carry out a long war with the British Empire. He believed that after the imminent French armistice, Italy could gain territorial concessions from France, he could concentrate his forces on a major offensive in North Africa, where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces. However, the British government refused to accept proposals for a peace that would involve accepting Axis victories in Eastern and Western Europe. In October 1940, Mussolini sent Italian forces into Greece; the invasion failed and the following Greek counter-offensive pushed the Italians back to occupied Albania. The Greek debacle and simultaneous defeats against the British in North Africa reduced Italy to dependence on Germany. Beginning in June 1941, Mussolini sent Italian forces to participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union, Italy declared war on the United States in December.
In 1943, Italy suffered one disaster after another: by February the Red Army had destroyed the Italian Army in Russia. As a consequence, early on 25 July, the Grand Council of Fascism passed a motion of no confidence for Mussolini. After the king agreed the armistice with the allies, on 12 September 1943 Mussolini was rescued from captivity in the Gran Sasso raid by German paratroopers and Waffen-SS commandos led by Major Otto-Harald Mors. Adolf Hitler, after meeting with the rescued former dictator put Mussolini in charge of a puppet regime in northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic, informally known as the Salò Republic. In late April 1945, in the wake of near total defeat and his mistress Clara Petacci attempted to flee to Switzerland, but both were captured by Italian communist partisans and summarily executed by firing squad on 28 April 1945 near Lake Como, his body was taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station to publicly confirm his demise. Mussolini was born on 29 July 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, a small town in the province of Forlì in Romagna.
During the Fascist era, Predappio was dubbed "Duce's town" and Forlì was called "Duce's city", with pilgrims going to Predappio and Forlì to see the birthplace of Mussolini. Benito Mussolini's father, Alessandro Mussolini, was a blacksmith and a socialist, while his mother, was a devout Catholic schoolteacher. Owing to his father's political leanings, Mussolini was named Benito after liberal Mexican president Benito Juárez, while his middle names Andrea and Amilcare were from Italian socialists Andrea Costa and Amilcare Cipriani. Benito was the eldest of his parents' three children, his siblings Arnaldo and Edvige fol
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
The Roman Kingdom referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history, when the city and its territory were ruled by kings. Little is certain about the kingdom's history, as no records and few inscriptions from the time of the kings survive, the accounts of this period written during the Republic and Empire are thought to be based on oral tradition. According to these legends, the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding circa 753 BC, with settlements around the Palatine Hill along the river Tiber in central Italy, ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic circa 509 BC; the site of the founding of the Roman Kingdom had a ford where one could cross the river Tiber in central Italy. The Palatine Hill and hills surrounding it provided defensible positions in the wide fertile plain surrounding them; each of these features contributed to the success of the city. The traditional version of Roman history, which has come down to us principally through Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, recounts that a series of seven kings ruled the settlement in Rome's first centuries.
The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro, allows 243 years for their combined reigns, an average of 35 years. Since the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, modern scholarship has discounted this schema; the Gauls destroyed many of Rome's historical records when they sacked the city after the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC, what remained fell prey to time or to theft. With no contemporary records of the kingdom surviving, all accounts of the Roman kings must be questioned; the kings, excluding Romulus, who according to legend held office by virtue of being the city's founder, were all elected by the people of Rome to serve for life, with none of the kings relying on military force to gain or keep the throne. The insignia of the kings of Rome were twelve lictors wielding the fasces bearing axes, the right to sit upon a Curule chair, the purple Toga Picta, red shoes, a white diadem around the head. Of all these insignia, the most important was the purple toga; the king was invested with supreme military and judicial authority through the use of imperium, formally granted to the king by the Comitia Curiata with the passing of the Lex curiata de imperio at the beginning of each king's reign.
The imperium of the king was held for life and protected him from being brought to trial for his actions. As being the sole owner of imperium in Rome at the time, the king possessed ultimate executive power and unchecked military authority as the commander-in-chief of all Rome's legions; the laws that kept citizens safe from magistrates' misuse of imperium did not exist during the monarchical period. Another power of the king was the power to either nominate all officials to offices; the king would appoint a tribunus celerum to serve as both the tribune of Ramnes tribe in Rome and as the commander of the king's personal bodyguard, the Celeres. The king was required to appoint the tribune upon entering office and the tribune left office upon the king's death; the tribune was second in rank to the king and possessed the power to convene the Curiate Assembly and lay legislation before it. Another officer appointed by the king was the praefectus urbi; when the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers and abilities to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city.
The king received the right to be the only person to appoint patricians to the Senate. What is known for certain is that the king alone possessed the right to the auspice on behalf of Rome as its chief augur, no public business could be performed without the will of the gods made known through auspices; the people knew the king as a mediator between them and the gods and thus viewed the king with religious awe. This made the king the head of its chief executive. Having the power to control the Roman calendar, he conducted all religious ceremonies and appointed lower religious offices and officers, it is said that Romulus himself instituted the augurs and was believed to have been the best augur of all. King Numa Pompilius instituted the pontiffs and through them developed the foundations of the religious dogma of Rome. Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had little power and authority, they could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them.
While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws, submitted by the king, the Senate was an honorary council. It by no means could prevent him from acting; the only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation. The king's imperium both granted him military powers and qualified him to pronounce legal judgment in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Though he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal; this made the king supreme in times of both peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could
The Papal States the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche and Romagna, portions of Emilia; these holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy. By 1861, much of the Papal States' territory had been conquered by the Kingdom of Italy. Only Lazio, including Rome, remained under the Pope's temporal control. In 1870, the Pope lost Lazio and Rome and had no physical territory at all, except the Basilica of St Peter and the papal residence and related buildings around the Vatican quarter of Rome, which the new Italian state did not occupy militarily.
In 1929 the head of the Italian government, at the time the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, ended the crisis between unified Italy and the Holy See by negotiating the Lateran Treaty, signed by the two parties. This recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See over a newly created international territorial entity, the Vatican City State, limited to a token territory; the Papal States were known as the Papal State. The territories were referred to variously as the State of the Church, the Pontifical States, the Ecclesiastical States, or the Roman States. To some extent the name used varied with the preferences and habits of the European languages in which it was expressed. For its first 300 years the Catholic Church was persecuted and unrecognized, unable to hold or transfer property. Early congregations met in rooms set aside for that purpose in the homes of well-to-do individuals, a number of early churches, known as titular churches and located on the outskirts of Ancient Rome, were held as property by individuals, rather than by the Church itself.
Nonetheless, the properties held nominally or by individual members of the Roman churches would be considered as a common patrimony handed over successively to the legitimate "heir" of that property its senior deacons, who were, in turn, assistants to the local bishop. This common patrimony attached to the churches at Rome, thus under its ruling bishop, became quite considerable, including as it did not only houses etc. in Rome or nearby but landed estates, such as latifundias, whole or in part, across Italy and beyond. This system began to change during the reign of the emperor Constantine I, who made Christianity legal within the Roman Empire, restoring to it any properties, confiscated; the Lateran Palace was the first significant new donation to the Church, most a gift from Constantine himself. Other donations followed in mainland Italy but in the provinces of the Roman Empire, but the Church held all of these lands as a private landowner, not as a sovereign entity. When in the 5th century the Italian peninsula passed under the control of Odoacer and the Ostrogoths, the Church organization in Italy, with the pope at its head, submitted of necessity to their sovereign authority while asserting its spiritual primacy over the whole Church.
The seeds of the Papal States as a sovereign political entity were planted in the 6th century. Beginning in 535, the Byzantine Empire, under emperor Justinian I, launched a reconquest of Italy that took decades and devastated Italy's political and economic structures. Just as these wars wound down, the Lombards entered the peninsula from the north and conquered much of the countryside. By the 7th century, Byzantine authority was limited to a diagonal band running from Ravenna, where the Emperor's representative, or Exarch, was located, to Rome and south to Naples, plus coastal enclaves. With effective Byzantine power weighted at the northeast end of this territory, the pope, as the largest landowner and most prestigious figure in Italy, began by default to take on much of the ruling authority that Byzantines were unable to project to the area around the city of Rome. While the popes remained Byzantine subjects, in practice the Duchy of Rome, an area equivalent to modern-day Latium, became an independent state ruled by the pope.
The Church's independence, combined with popular support for the papacy in Italy, enabled various popes to defy the will of the Byzantine emperor. The pope and the exarch still worked together to control the rising power of the Lombards in Italy; as Byzantine power weakened, the papacy took an ever-larger role in defending Rome from the Lombards through diplomacy. In practice, the papal efforts served to focus Lombard aggrandizement on Ravenna. A climactic moment in the founding of the Papal States was the agreement over boundaries embodied in the Lombard king Liutprand's Donation of Sutri to Pope Gregory II; when the Exarchate of
The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire; the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained numerous vassal states; some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians; the empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān. In Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond.
In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek rump states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade. Founded by the Laskaris family, it lasted from 1204 to 1261, when the Nicaeans restored the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. In 1204, Byzantine emperor Alexios V Ducas Murtzouphlos fled Constantinople after crusaders invaded the city. Soon after, Theodore I Lascaris, the son-in-law of Emperor Alexios III Angelos, was proclaimed emperor but he too, realizing the situation in Constantinople was hopeless, fled to the city of Nicaea in Bithynia; the Latin Empire, established by the Crusaders in Constantinople, had poor control over former Byzantine territory, Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire sprang up in Epirus and Nicaea. Trebizond had broken away as an independent state a few weeks before the fall of Constantinople. Nicaea, was the closest to the Latin Empire and was in the best position to attempt to re-establish the Byzantine Empire.
Theodore Lascaris was not successful, as Henry of Flanders defeated him at Poimanenon and Prusa in 1204, but Theodore was able to capture much of northwestern Anatolia after the defeat of Latin Emperor Baldwin I in the Battle of Adrianople, Henry was recalled to Europe to defend against invasions from Kaloyan of Bulgaria. Theodore defeated an army from Trebizond, as well as other minor rivals, leaving him in charge of the most powerful of the successor states. In 1206, Theodore proclaimed. Numerous truces and alliances were formed and broken over the next few years, as the Byzantine successor states, the Latin Empire, the Bulgarians, the Seljuks of Iconium fought each other. In 1211, at Antioch on the Meander, Theodore defeated a major invasion by the Seljuks, who were backing a bid by Alexios III Angelos to return to power; the losses suffered at Antioch, led to a defeat at the hands of the Latin Empire at the Rhyndacus River and the loss of most of Mysia and the Marmara Sea coast in the subsequent Treaty of Nymphaeum.
The Nicaeans were compensated for this territorial loss when, in 1212, the death of David Komnenos allowed their annexation of his lands in Paphlagonia. Theodore consolidated his claim to the imperial throne by naming a new Patriarch of Constantinople in Nicaea. In 1219, he married the daughter of Latin Empress Yolanda of Flanders, but he died in 1222 and was succeeded by his son-in-law John III Ducas Vatatzes; the accession of Vatatzes was challenged by the Laskarids, with the sebastokratores Isaac and Alexios, brothers of Theodore I, seeking the aid of the Latin Empire. Vatatzes prevailed over their combined forces, however, in the Battle of Poimanenon, securing his throne and regaining all of the Asian territories held by the Latin Empire in the process. In 1224, the Latin Kingdom of Thessalonica was captured by the Despot of Epirus Theodore Komnenos Doukas, who crowned himself emperor in rivalry to Vatatzes and established the Empire of Thessalonica, it proved short-lived, as it came under Bulgarian control after the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230.
With Trebizond lacking any real power, Nicaea was the only Byzantine state left, John III expanded his territory across the Aegean Sea. In 1235, he allied with Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria, allowing him to extend his influence over Thessalonica and Epirus. In 1242, the Mongols invaded Seljuk territory to the east of Nicaea, although John III was worried they might attack him next, they ended up eliminating the Seljuk threat to Nicaea. In 1245, John allied with the Holy Roman Empire by marrying Constance II of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Frederick II. In 1246, John attacked Bulgaria and recovered most of Thrace and Macedonia, proceeded to incorporate Thessalonica into his realm. By 1248, John had surrounded the Latin Empire, he continued to take land from the Latins until his death in 1254. Theodore II Lascaris, John III's son, faced invasions from the Bulgarians in Thrace, but defended the territory. A conflict between Nicaea and Epirus broke out in 1257. Epirus allied with Manfred of Sicily when Theodore II died in 1258.
John IV Lascaris succeeded him, but as he was still a child he was under the regency of the general Michael Palaeologus. Michael proclaimed himself co-emperor in 1259, soon defeated a combined invasion by Manfred, the Despot of Epirus, the Latin Prince of Achaea at the Battle of Pelagonia. In 1260, Michael began the assault on Constantinople itself, which his predecessors had been unable to do, he allied with Genoa, his general Alexios Strategopoulos spent months observing Constantinople in order to plan his attack. In July 1261, as most of the Latin army was fighting elsewhere, Alexius was able to convince the guards to open the gates of the city. Once inside he burned the Venetian quarter. Michael was recognized as emperor a few weeks restoring the Byzantine Empire. Achaea was soon recaptured; the restored empire faced a new threat from the Ottomans, when they arose to replace the Seljuks. After 1261, Constantinople once more became the capital of the Byzantine Empire; the territories of the former Empire of Nicaea were stripped of their wealth, used to rebuild Constantinople and to fund numerous wars in Europe against the Latin states and Epirus.
Soldiers were transferred from Asia Minor to Europe, leaving the old frontier undefended. Raids by Turkish ghazis were